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Roses are red But they're not very green They're flown in from Africa Not Aberdeen; CAMPAIGNERS IN VALENTINE'S DAY PLEA; Demand has huge impact on climate.

Byline: Jane Barrie

You can't put a price on love but there might be a hidden cost to the environment.

A Sunday Mail investigation has found that every major supermarket we surveyed apart from one imports their Valentine's Day roses from East Africa.

It's a thorny issue, as retailers claim it's as detrimental to the environment to grow Valentine's roses here when we don't have the climate.

But campaigners say the long-term solution is to ditch traditional-cut roses altogether and opt for seasonal home-grown blooms.

Scottish Greens climate spokeman Mark Ruskell MSP said: "It's remarkable that roses are flown in at such great expense, both financially and in terms of the climate impact.

"I'd encourage retailers to explore sustainable alternative arrangements such as sourcing flowers from closer to home and supporting fair trade initiatives."

We compared bouquets of a dozen red roses from high street stores ahead of February 14.

All of the bunches - which cost from PS1.99 to PS5 - came from Kenya except for roses from Lidl, which were sourced from Uganda and Zambia, and Morrisons, which came from India.

It means most of the flowers in the shops are flown more than 4000 miles to the UK.

SOME supermarkets defend the imported roses, point out they support fair trade and have British flowers available for customers who prefer them.

Aldi, which also sources roses from RESEARCH Dr Timms of Coventry Uni Ethiopia, India, Colombia and the Netherlands, said: "It is not possible to commercially grow roses for retail in the UK as it doesn't have the land space. Roses need the right amount of light and heat, which is not possible in the UK all year, or for peaks like Valentine's Day, without constant and significant energy usage.

"The balance must be considered of carbon emissions for British growing in the wrong climate (and with less transport) versus the correct climate and transport from countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia.

"By purchasing roses, the majority from East Africa, we are also supporting the economic wellbeing of developing countries."

Asda said: "Whilst not all flowers can be home-grown all year round, we do always offer a selection of seasonal blooms that are grown locally in the UK and are clearly labelled for customers."

M&S said it took a lead in selling seasonal British flowers - but also sourced from more than 50 countries.

It said its Valentine's roses were sustainably sourced from international rather than UK growers as cut roses grow best at altitude with high light levels. It also said it worked with longstanding partners in Kenya and Colombia in line with its wider sourcing approach.

Dr Jill EXPENSE Timms, of the Centre for Business in Society at Coventry University, has spent 10 years researching the sustainability of cut flowers.

She said: "As pressure grows to address the global climate emergency, a sustainable flower industry has never been more important. Any type of flying creates a carbon footprint and flying itself is one of the most important factors for us to work away from when dealing with climate change. But roses are particularly difficult for growing in the UK at certain times of the year such as Valentine's Day.

"The first step is to have clear information on bouquets as to the origin of flowers so consumers can make an informed choice.

"But perhaps we need to be sending something else. Ask yourself if you can support local businesses instead, who don't have the air miles or big footprint."

Derek Lawrence, of The Rose Society UK, suggests buying a rose plant. He said: "Red roses are a symbol of passion and true love.

"Forty-three per cent of fresh flowers purchased for Valentine's Day are red roses but most flown to Britain are from countries such as Holland and Colombia, with 60 per cent of imports coming from Kenya.

"Floristry roses do not have the perfume of garden roses. But if you plant some in the garden, you can enjoy the sheer beauty on a permanent basis."

THE ROSES Aldi 12 sweetheart roses, PS1.99, available from February 11. Origin Kenya LIDL 12 sweetheart roses, PS4, from February 12. Origin Uganda and Zambia ASDA My super sweetheart bouquet, PS5, from February 12.

Origin Kenya tesco Dozen roses, PS5, from February 10. Origin Kenya M&S One dozen short stem roses, PS5, from February 12. Origin Kenya WAITROSE 12 sweetheart roses, PS5, from February 11.

Origin Kenya MORRISONS 12 red roses, PS5, from February 11.

Origin India



RESEARCH Dr Timms of Coventry Uni

ORDERS A worker prepares roses in Naivasha, Kenya
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Author:Jane Barrie
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 9, 2020
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